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Swami Vivekananda

Raja Yoga by Swami Vivekananda

Raja Yoga is Swami Vivekananda‘s interpretation of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. It has been a seminal work on Yoga and has helped spread the ancient knowledge of Yoga.

The book is comprised of multiple chapters, which introduce the practice of yoga, and then subsequently explain the sutras (aphorisms) by Patanjali. At its core Raja Yoga has 4 chapters, which explain the 195 Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

Before you begin reading the book, you should go through the following two parts on Yoga for a quick background on Yoga.

Pre-reads to Raja Yoga

World Yoga Forum

What is the goal of Yoga?

It’s important to understand the goal of Yoga before we get in to the practice of Yoga. For this we take the help of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. According to Patanjali’s definition in the 2nd sutra, yoga is cessation (nirodha) of the activities (vrittis) of chitta. Vrittis refer to any sequence of thoughts, ideas, mental imaging or cognitive act performed by the mind, intellect, or ego. It is important to note that the mind & body are one and a part of nature (prakriti), and the soul is separate. Chitta comprises of 3 things Intelligence (Buddhi) Ego (Ahankara) Mind (Manas) Chitta…

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Yoga and Meditation

What is Asamprajana Samadhi? The eight limbs of Yoga

Asmaprajnata Samadhi is the ultimate state of awareness, the state of consciousness where nothing can be discerned except the pure self. (Read more about this in the goal of yoga). This is the ultimate goal of yoga Asmaprajnata Samadhi is the 8th limb and the final limb of yoga presented by Patanjali. The 8 Limbs of Yoga Yama (Abstentions, moral restraints such as truthfulness, non-violence, etc.) – This deals with how you deal with others. If your goal is to remove consciousness with identification with body, you have to stop pandering to the grosser urges of the body including violence,…

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Raja Yoga – Full Book By Swami Vivekananda

Part 1 – Basics of Raja Yoga

Raja Yoga Introduction – Swami Vivekananda

This post captures the introduction of Raja Yoga and Swami Vivekananda’s commentary on religion. Knowledge from experience All our knowledge is based upon experience. What we call inferential knowledge, in which we go from the less to the more general, or from the general to the particular, has experience as its basis. In what are called the exact sciences, people easily find the truth, because it appeals to the particular experiences of every human being. The scientist does not tell you to believe in anything, but he has certain results which come from his own experiences, and reasoning on them…

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Concentration – Swami Vivekananda in Raja Yoga

There is only one method by which to attain knowledge, that which is called concentration. The chemist in his laboratory concentrates all the energies of his mind into one focus, and throws them upon the materials he is analyzing, and so finds out their secrets. The astronomer concentrates all the energies of his mind and projects them through his telescope upon the skies; and the stars, the sun, and the moon, give up their secrets to him. The more I can concentrate my thoughts on the matter on which I am talking to you, the more light I can throw…

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Knowledge and Perfect Bliss – Swami Vivekananda in Raja Yoga

knowledge is the highest reward of knowledge. It will take away all our misery. When by analysing his own mind, man comes face to face, as it were, with something which is never destroyed, something which is, by its own nature, eternally pure and perfect, he will no more be miserable, no more unhappy. All misery comes from fear, from unsatisfied desire. Swami Vivekanand in Raja Yoga Man will find that he never dies, and then he will have no more fear of death. When he knows that he is perfect, he will have no more vain desires, and both…

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Concentrating the mind internally – Swami Vivekananda in Raja Yoga

It is easy to concentrate the mind on external things, the mind naturally goes outwards; but not so in the case of religion, or psychology, or metaphysics, where the subject and the object, are one. The object is internal, the mind itself is the object, and it is necessary to study the mind itself — mind studying mind. We know that there is the power of the mind called reflection. I am talking to you. At the same time, I am standing aside, as it were, a second person, and knowing and hearing what I am talking. You work and…

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Raja Yoga First Steps by Swami Vivekananda

Raja-Yoga is divided into eight steps. The first is Yama — non – killing, truthfulness, non – stealing, continence, and non – receiving of any gifts. Next is Niyama — cleanliness, contentment, austerity, study, and self – surrender to God. Then comes Asana, or posture; Pranayama, or control of Prana; Pratyahara, or restraint of the senses from their objects; Dharana, or fixing the mind on a spot; Dhyana, or meditation; and Samadhi, or superconsciousness. The Yama and Niyama, as we see, are moral trainings; without these as the basis no practice of Yoga will succeed. As these two become established,…

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Kundalini Basics – Swami Vivekananda

Kundalini is a coiled up energy at the base of the spine. According to the Yogis, there are two nerve currents in the spinal column, called Pingala and Ida, and a hollow canal called Sushumna running through the spinal cord. At the lower end of the hollow canal is what the Yogis call the “Lotus of the Kundalini”. They describe it as triangular in form in which, in the symbolical language of the Yogis, there is a power called the Kundalini, coiled up. When that Kundalini awakes, it tries to force a passage through this hollow canal, and as it…

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Pranayama Exercises and Rising of Kundalini – Swami Vivekananda

The exercises in Pranayama have been detailed out in the chapter titled The Control Of The Psychic Prana in the book Raja Yoga by Swami Vivekananda. We have seen that the first step, according to the Yogis, is to control the motion of the lungs. What we want to do is to feel the finer motions that are going on in the body. Our minds have become externalized, and have lost sight of the fine motions inside. If we can begin to feel them, we can begin to control them. These nerve currents go on all over the body, bringing…

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Pratyahara Basics – Withdrawal of Senses by Swami Vivekananda

You know how perceptions come. First of all there are the external instruments, then the internal organs acting in the body through the brain centres, and there is the mind. When these come together and attach themselves to some external object, then we perceive it. At the same time it is a very difficult thing to concentrate the mind and attach it to one organ only; the mind is a slave. We hear “Be good,” and “Be good,” and “Be good,” taught all over the world. There is hardly a child, born in any country in the world, who has…

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Dharana Basics by Swami Vivekananda

After you have practised Pratyahara for a time, take the next step, the Dharana, holding the mind to certain points. What is meant by holding the mind to certain points? Forcing the mind to feel certain parts of the body to the exclusion of others. For instance, try to feel only the hand, to the exclusion of other parts of the body. When the Chitta, or mind – stuff, is confined and limited to a certain place it is Dharana. This Dharana is of various sorts, and along with it, it is better to have a little play of the…

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Dhyana and Samadhi by Swami Vivekananda

In order to reach the superconscious state in a scientific manner it is necessary to pass through the various steps of Raja-Yoga. After Pratyahara and Dharana, we come to Dhyana, meditation. When the mind has been trained to remain fixed on a certain internal or external location, there comes to it the power of flowing in an unbroken current, as it were, towards that point. This state is called Dhyana. When one has so intensified the power of Dhyana as to be able to reject the external part of perception and remain meditating only on the internal part, the meaning,…

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Part 2 – Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras explained by Swami Vivekananda in Raja Yoga

This is a 4 part series, that is at the heart of Raja Yoga. This describes the 195 Yoga Sutras of Patanjali in 4 parts. It describes the uses of concentration, the practice of concentration (introduces Kriya Yoga), the mystic powers gained by yogi through concentration, and ultimately the independence through the practices (including discussing karma, alternate methods of attaining siddhis).

  1. Concentration: It’s spiritual uses (51 Sutras) (Link)
  2. Concentration: It’s practice (55 Sutras) (Link)
  3. Mystic powers of the Yogi (56 Sutras) (Link)
  4. Independence (33 Sutras) (Link)
Concentration Swami Vivekananda

Concentration: It’s Spiritual Uses

This post is from Swami Vivekananda’s Raja Yoga and includes the first segment of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras interpreted and translated by Swami Vivekananda. This chapter from Raja Yoga essentially lists the first 51 Yoga Sutras from Patanjali’s 195 Yoga Sutras. Swami Vivekananda has explained these Sutras through four separate chapters in the book. The first chapter is the first segment, which in its essence talks about the mind, concentration, and describes meditation and its various stages. These have been chronologically listed as mentioned in Raja Yoga. There are certain instances where the meaning of a Sutra may not be clear.…

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Concentration: Its Practice – Swami Vivekananda

The practice of concentration is the second part in Swami Vivekananda’s Raja Yoga and a continuation of the first part, which describes the spiritual uses of concentration. The first part has the first 51 sutras of Patanjali where the uses of concentration have been described. The second part discussed below has the next 55 sutras (aphorisms) out of the 195 sutras from Patanjali’s yoga sutras. This part begins with the introduction of Kriya-Yoga, and its effects. Also read the first part of Raja Yoga – Concentration: It’s Spiritual Uses. 1. Mortification, study, and surrendering fruits of work to God are…

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Mystic Powers Of The Yogi – Swami Vivekananda

We have now come to the chapter in which the Mystic Powers of the Yogi have been described. This is the 3rd part of the Yoga Sutras (aphorisms) of Patanjali as explained by Swami Vivekananda. In the first two parts, Swami Vivekananda describes the spiritual uses of concentration. These are the first 51 sutras by Patanjali. In the second part the practice of concentration is described. These are the 55 sutras that describe the practice of concentration and introduce Kriya Yoga. The third part (below) is a set of 56 sutras (aphorisms) that describe the powers a yoga attains through…

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Independence – Swami Vivekananda

This is the last and final part of the series by Swami Vivekananda from his work – Raja Yoga. The work of Raja Yoga is essentially an explanation of the Yoga Sutras (aphorisms) by Patanjali. Most of the modern day Yoga in some form or the other originates from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. We’ve covered the first 3 parts so far, which describe the following Concentration: It’s spiritual uses (51 Sutras) Concentration: It’s practice (55 Sutras) Mystic powers of the Yogi (56 Sutras) Independence (33 Sutras) The following last part has 33 sutras and is the final part from Yoga Sutras…

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